In the Deep Woods

On the crest of a ravine at the edge of the Chattahoochee River rest the ruins of a car. It’s a 1963 Mercury Comet, though it could be literally any make and model from between, oh, 1950 and 1980. Its tires have rotted away, its windshield long shattered, its roof caved in, its hood a gaping maw. Its paint, once a brilliant Santa Claus red, is now the dull hue of dried blood. Whatever could’ve been scavenged from this car was taken, and whatever couldn’t was shot all to hell.

Abandoned cars aren’t exactly a novelty in Georgia. But here’s the thing about this one: it’s a long-ass way from anything close to a road. Someone had to work hard to get this beast this deep into the forest. Even if you discount all the trees, the terrain here dips and swoops at angles that are tough to hike, and damn near impossible to drive.

This particular Comet was an S-22; the holes where six bullet-shaped taillights once glowed are the tipoff. And while the Comet had its sedan variants, the two-doored, tail-finned S-22 was a young man’s ride. This wasn’t a father bringing his family out for a Sunday picnic in the forest. This was an idiot kid, driving too far and probably too fast, maybe — given we’re talking the ’60s here — driving AWAY from something even faster than he was driving toward anything.

Here’s what I want to think happened: this kid opened up the throttle but outdrove his road, and somewhere along the line decided, hell with it — I’ll go where the forest takes me.

Judging from where the car ended up, the forest let him run a long way before bringing him to earth. The car doesn’t appear as if it wrecked; it’s not, say, grown into a tree that halted it. The car just….stopped. Out of gas, blown tires, broken axle, whatever.

I hope that idiot kid got out OK. And I hope he learned a lesson. I hope the next time he turned hard into the forest, he didn’t let the forest drag him down.